Hinterland Green

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Green Bedding a Mystery that's About to be Uncovered by The Specialty Sleep Association's Green Initiative

The notion of green bedding did not occur to me until I read a recent article by The Specialty Sleep Association, which is currently working through its new Green Initiative to standardize the manner in which mattress manufacturers and retailers define green, organic, and natural products. Nearly 40 bedding industry leaders from companies like Sealy, Simmons, Serta, Tempurpedic, Foamex, Hickory Springs, Cargill, Nutura World, OMI and Anatomic Global agreed during a recent meeting in Bonita Springs, Fl., that the industry needs a common set of definitions to reduce consume confusion about the environmental benefits of bedding products. While a green mattress might seem like a pretty pricey investment, there's no doubt that we spend a huge amount of time in bed. The fact is, we spend a third of our lives in bed, so being ecologically responsible is paramount, but the notion of "green bedding" has remained a mystery that may be about to change.

The ultimate goals of the SSA, while still being formalized by the participants, include the creation of a standard certification program based on established standards and definitions for terms such as green, natural, all-natural, and organic. In the mean time, there are several important things to look for in a green bedding. Planet Green's guide to buying a green mattress is also a great resource. Here are some tips, as excerpted from Treehugger :

Make sure there are no phthalates.
Phthalates, which can be found in the covering of some mattresses, have been linked to health problems. They have already been banned in mattresses designed for use by children in California. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), phthalates are harmful platicizer chemicals commonly found in crib mattresses and mattress pads. The group of chemicals are known to affect a child's developing endocrine (hormonal) system, and may cause asthma, allergies, or even cancer.

Watch out for PBDEs.
A conscious green consumer should also watch out for polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), especially in crib beds. This harmful fire retardant has been found to cause immune suppression, endocrine disruption, behavioral problems, and cancer. A federal law enacted in 1973 requires all mattresses to meet certain guidelines designed to prevent cigarette-ignition, so most conventional mattresses are treated with toxic fire-retardant chemicals that pose significant potential health risks.

Avoid polyurethane foam.
Polyurethane foam is made from petroleum and can emit volatile organic compounds (V.O.C.'s). These compounds have been linked to respiratory irritation and other health problems, according to both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.


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